If you can call yourself tech-savvy, then at least you’ve used your phone to search for something online. Either you entered the keywords in the Google search bar or you used voice search. While the former is the well-known, conventional way of doing things, the latter is ready to take the lead – sooner or later.
For example, an article about Oberlo says that by the end of 2021, about 122.7 million Internet users in the United States will use voice search. Imagine this?
As a digital marketer or business owner, you will need to know how voice search can affect how online marketing strategies are built and how it affects search engine optimization. In Southeast Asia, voice demand increased by 120% during quarantines in 2020, according to the e-economy report for 2020 by Google and Temasek. To stay ahead of the competition, use voice search optimization in the beginning, because it is already changing the SEO game.
5Ws and 1H voice search
Working for a digital marketing company or SEO agency ensures awareness of market trends, and before you can optimize a business or website for voice search, you will need to make sure that there is already some basis for an online presence.
Before embarking on its impact on SEO, let’s discuss the basics of voice search by looking at: What, why, when, where, who and how.
- What is voice search? Voice search basically allows the user to vocalize a search query. IBM’s Watson speech recognition initiated the production of voice-enabled devices in the 2000s, which Google and Apple later followed, launching Voice Search and Siri, respectively.
- Why is voice search important? It differs from browser search, and with the growth of mobile phone users, the popularity of voice search is increasing. Moz writes about how nearly 50% of users have used it for general online inquiries.
- When is voice search used? It is important to keep in mind that not all companies can fully rely on voice search, as it will still depend on whether it is suitable for their marketing. For starters, voice search will not replace text search – it serves to increase. Local businesses, for example, can benefit from voice search optimization by creating content that targets common requests for available goods or services nearby.
- Where is voice search critical? For narrower user intentions with long queued keywords, voice search offers the potential for greater search capability. With clearer and more defined search queries, users do not use voice search to browse. More often, these audiences are closer to the bottom of the sales funnel.
- Who uses voice search? Mobile users are the main users of voice search. In fact, 20% of all mobile searches are done using voice search technology.
- How important is voice search? As a digital marketer or business owner, the ability to take advantage of voice search increases simply because it is easier and more convenient than typing in the search bar for specific needs. From searching for directions to quick adjustments and moments of curiosity – voice search helps make your life easier.
How does voice search change SEO?
Given the growing trends and the growing acceptance rate when using mobile searches, the impact that voice-activated technology has on SEO is certain. This means that businesses relying on digital marketing solutions will experience prosperity or hardship, so knowing the impact of voice demand is essential. For SEO analysts, digital marketers and business owners, voice search can help you survive the competition, achieve your marketing goals and increase your revenue.
Here are the different ways in which voice search changes the game:
- It dictates the user language and determines the context of the search.
- It gives keywords with a long queue that serve to find a specific answer.
- It rewards websites through higher SERP scores.
- Helps local businesses by making them more affordable.
- It helps e-commerce thrive in the same way that local businesses can benefit from its proliferation.
Language and context
In order for voice functionality to be functionally effective, it must have the ability to understand language. This need for understanding encourages consumers to speak in such a way that their technology device or voice-enabled platform can understand their request. Unlike a browser search, in which the user enters a snippet of two to three keywords, voice search dictates that the user meets certain syntax and grammatical constructions. That is why voice search is usually done through phrases or sentences with at least one complete thought.
Jeff Bulas writes about how 70% of voice searches often have a conversational tone. For example, a regular search for a digital content information browser is likely to read something like “the meaning of digital marketing,” but voice search allows the user to ask (with less effort), “What is digital marketing?” is another relevant aspect of its impact on SEO – the context of user intentions and keywords.
The words in question, such as 5Ws and 1H, which are built around the main keywords, help to define the user’s intention. Providing concise and accurate answers to such search queries can help a website get a snippet from Google. Therefore, marketers need to understand the context of the consumer’s intention behind voice search in order to distinguish the need for better content and clearer answers.
Google’s RankBrain and Hummingbird serve to provide users with relevant search results by understanding semantics and natural language. This can only highlight how voice search can affect SEO through the context of content relevancy – Google will rank pages higher when a website can consistently provide value to the user based on their search intent.
Voice search allows the user to combine more words to find what they are looking for, and this makes voice search queries much longer than a normal browser search. According to Backlinko, voice searches have an average of 29 words, which then gives priority to targeting keywords with a long queue. Often these search queries put consumers closer to the stage of conversion in the buyer’s journey.
As mentioned earlier, Google rewards useful content by ranking it higher in the SERP, and 75% of voice search results appear in the top three, effectively making their way to featured snippets and rich response fields.
The impact of voice-enabled technologies on local demand is undeniable. In fact, users are three times more likely to need something close to them when using voice search. And almost 60% of these users find businesses near them through voice search. This simply shows optimization for location-based queries, such as “Where can I find a Thai pad restaurant in Oregon?” Can really help businesses reach their target market.
Just as local businesses can benefit from the intention of consumers to search by voice, the e-commerce business can also benefit from its growing popularity. The Search Engine Journal describes how 72% of users did a voice search through a virtual assistant, while 35% of users did the same through a smart speaker. Online retailers need to take this as a sign of bigger things to come and invest in digital assistants to be able to serve more customers as their online presence expands their reach.
Prepare to optimize your website for voice search
Now that you know about voice search and how it can affect your SEO campaign, here are seven tips to consider if applicable to your digital marketing strategy.
- Keywords: Research keywords for voice search by taking your primary keyword and including it in the Keyword Research tool. Structure your keyword with long queues of variants closer to natural language that are more related to voice search.
- Headlines and FAQs: Optimize the content of your website for voice search by providing short responses to user search queries. One way to do this is to format your content as a FAQ page. Use keywords with questions in the titles and provide the answers as the main body of the text on the right. Google will recognize the content as valuable, direct and concise.
- Scheme: Optimize for snippets as well, as more than 40% of voice search results are in Google snippets as well. You can do this with your content by formatting it as structured data. This includes the use of bulleted and numbered lists, tables, and schema bullets to show the value of your content.
- Contents: Create high-quality video content for specific aspects of the business, such as instructional demonstrations or product reviews. Make sure you also optimize the meta tags. This helps to ensure the value of a search query, especially for practical needs such as guidance.
- Google MyBusiness: Optimize for local voice search capabilities by making it easier for your target market to find you. You can do this by keeping your Google My Business account up-to-date, so that when a potential customer does a voice search for a “digital marketing agency near me,” your business is easily visible and accessible.
- Authorship and EAT: Become an expert on the topic in your niche and improve the authority of the domain, because Google takes into account the quality of its results and wants to provide content from rights sites. You can achieve this by having engaging and value-added content, high-quality links, organically grown social sharing, and a seamless user experience. This helps increase the chances of your content becoming the result of a voice search.
- Basic web importance: Calibrate the page experience and improve speed, because the user experience, such as the speed at which your website loads, is also a ranking factor in Core Web Vitals. With an average speed of voice search results of up to 4.6 seconds, it shouldn’t take a page to load completely.
With these seven tips, try to create an SEO campaign that includes voice search in your strategy. Create, create and apply accordingly. And after 90 to 180 days, review the results and recalibrate if necessary. The data is key here, so be sure to maximize all the tools at your disposal.
It is also helpful to note how foresight is crucial in SEO. In relation to your business goals, digital marketing is an ever-evolving industry and the awareness of voice demand and its potential to help businesses grow is an opportunity that any marketer or agency, worth the salt, cannot afford to miss.